Tag Archives: Family

All you need is love. Three areas of love, to live by.

I’m a true believer that all you need is love. Sometimes I actually have to remind myself that I need a little money and some amenities to survive in this world. Love is what fuels me buts it’s also the reward. I remind myself daily to focus on these aspects of love.

Love for Someone

Love for Something

Love for Yourself

Love for Someone

Whether you’re married or single is not important. Loving someone is the key. Anyone. A friend, a parent, a sibling. Not the kind of love that brings you together a few times a year or gets you a birthday text. The kind of love that you put work into. The love that is above and beyond a text or Facebook post. Love that they can feel no matter where they are or who they’re with. That’s how you love someone. Real commitment and dedication. The kind of love that’s an action, that’s hard to give to a lot of people at once. So choose your people. Who do you love? Who needs your love? My people right now are my daughters and of course my husband. My mother too. I’ve always believed that loving someone was not the difficult part. Making sure they feel loved is the challenge. So, challenge yourself.

Love for something

My thing is the steelpan. My instrument. An instrument I played since I was a child. Recently, a student asked at an assembly “why do I feel a warm breeze like I’m at the beach or somewhere nice when I hear you play?” She had never heard a steelpan at the beach so I told her that feeling was called joy and if you enjoy being at the beach then you’re relating this sound to a happy memory. That’s what the instrument does.

I’ve never witnessed anything else in my lifetime that makes so many people so happy. Well, maybe…s’mores. I’ve also never witnessed anything that brings together so many different types of people. Because of this love, I’ve become extremely dedicated to teaching about the steelpan and preserving the legacy of one of its pioneers, my father.


Love for yourself

I’ve always been a big advocate for loving yourself. Thinking you’re beautiful, knowing your worth and having pride in your story. I believe that I was blessed with self-esteem and pride. Growing up in America in the 80’s as a poor, immigrant, dark-skinned girl is not for the faint of heart, but somehow when I looked in the mirror, I loved what I saw… a pretty, strong, smart, talented and a very hard-working girl with big goals and a giving spirit. I knew these things about myself then and years later I still believe them to be true even if at times it’s wavered.

Growing up, I saw that women who looked like me were not perceived or portrayed as having those qualities. So not only did I have the challenge of continuing to believe that about myself, but I was also faced with the challenge of defending why I believed that about myself, especially from those with opposing views based on what they were taught.

Still today, I encounter people who are offended by my self-esteem and confidence. It’s  challenged, as if I don’t deserve it or it somehow makes them lesser than. I recognize that their behavior stems from how they in turn feel about themselves or the biases of that individual. Biases they sometimes don’t even recognize they have. However, I’m raising young girls who are even more confident than I was. Their strength is what pushes me to continue to not only be a great example but to always overcome.


All in All

Give your love, make sure it’s felt.

Find a passion and nourish your soul.

When you love yourself, you are better able to love others.


Happy Valentine’s Day xoxo


My Weekend…Planned

I can’t even believe it’s Friday?! The last three weeks have been nonstop! Work, travel, family obligations. Truly nonstop. I can’t really complain though, there’s always so much to celebrate. My girls are doing well. David and I are healthy and happy and new opportunities are coming along. I’ll be blogging for Visit Pittsburgh announced this week and Barrels to Beethoven received its first grant from the PA Council on the Arts.  There’s no break in site! Both in a good way and a way that makes me a little nervous. Luckily we have an exciting weekend ahead.


I’ll spend the morning and early afternoon finishing up my first popup with UpTo. We’ve spent the last week assisting business owners in Sharpsburg. A cute town outside of the city that has quickly become my favorite place. Next week we’ll head to Homewood. But I’ll definitely be back, Sharpsburg!

Friday afternoon I head to my space to practice and pack up the instruments for the evening. 

Friday night I’m heading to Mr. Smalls Funhouse for a CD release party for Brett Staggs. Rhythm ‘n’ Steel drummer/bandmate just happens to be an incredibly talented singer, songwriter and musician. Barrels to Beethoven will open the night by teaching guests to play the steelpan. We’ve got some cool songs in store to teach. I’m so excited for this event and so very happy for Brett. I’m grateful to know a musician like him. Talented, dedicated, light hearted. Funny guy. And not to mention my daughters’ new favorite singer. They know every word of every song. 


Saturday morning I’ll wake up early to do some laundry, clean up and finish some work. After a meeting for the upcoming Maker Faire, David and I will head to Sewickley for an event with Congressman John Lewis. A living legend and known activist and leader of the civil rights movement. I’m so excited to hear him speak. There’s so much ignorance being spread, this is the sort of rhetoric my mind and heart needs right now. 


Sunday will be the best day of the weekend. I’m really looking forward to my niece, Gianna’s confirmation mass. I’m so honored she asked me to be her sponsor and I hope I can be a guiding light in her life. She is just the sweetest girl. The kind of girl that makes you smile. This summer we got to spend more time together. She helped my mother in law babysit the girls, which was so comforting to me to know she was there with Sofia to help. She also attended my Pan Camp. She not only assisted with the younger students but learned to play the steelpan and was so good! She’s a blessing to this world I can’t wait to see what kind of young woman she grows up to be. I pray I can play a positive role in that. After mass we’ll all gather at my mother in laws for brunch. With hopefully some relaxation to follow.

All in All

It’s been an incredible last few weeks, few months, year. Ups and downs for sure but clear signs that hard work, prayer and positivity will allow me to achieve my goals and bring my family lots of joy. The temperatures are changing but my season is changing as well. I am working toward change and feeling the shift. I have goals in mind but also praying for guidance. I’ve learned that when you feel it’s time for a change you have to move with it. Don’t fight to keep things the same. It’s a strange feeling to be moving through your days like a raft in the river working hard, getting things done but feeling like you don’t fully have control. That’s when you literally just go with the flow and wait to see what comes next. I’m waiting. I’m praying. I’m excited. 

My Weekend…Planned

Sometimes it’s crazy to think about how much I do in a day, a week or a month. I know extremely busy people that tell me I’m busy. That scares me a little. What makes me calm is my ability to schedule and plan, sometimes to the minute. That may sound boring and binding but somehow I still feel free, open to change, and able to enjoy moments of spontaneity. 


The last day of Pan Camp! What an incredible 3 weeks of steelpan I’ve had. From two weeks with amazing children at Sweetwater to hosting my own week long camp for the second straight year. How far Barrels to Beethoven has come since 2014! 

This afternoon the students performed for parents, family, friends and some St. Edmunds staff. They did such a wonderful job! I’m often amazed by what my students can do, eventhough I fully believe in their abilities. That wraps up a summer full of steelpan education programs. #SummerOfSteel

Friday evening is prep for an action packed Saturday. Everybody’s hair will get done and outfits pressed in preparation for my inlaws 50th anniversary party on Saturday. 


Before we can get into party mode I have an afternoon gig with my band at the Carnegie Library of Homestead. Short and sweet (and for kids and families) just the way I like it! 

After that I’ll head home to get the girls and myself ready for the party. Of course we’ll enjoy ourselves that night but because my mother in law has such a talented son and extremely talented daughter in law, we are also the entertainment for the evening! And we’re happy to do it! Sometimes the best contribution is sharing what you love to do. That always makes me feel good. I’m so grateful to my bandmates for joining me. 

We also have a special surprise for my inlaws which I think they’ll absolutely LOVE!


Lose this number! We’ve had a crazy, jammed packed summer and the last three weeks were seriously like WHOA! I can’t today. I won’t today. The only person I’ll leave my house for is my sister in law Marisa. She’ll be here visiting from California. We don’t see her often and the girls definitely need some quality time. ❤️

All in All

With this party approaching its hard not to think about my own marriage. 50 years?! That’s incredible. There may have been times I wasn’t sure David and I would make it to 50 years. Nowadays, I’m more than sure. My only prayer is that we both live long enough to see and celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, together. Besides it being a blessing for my inlaws to reach this incredible milestone, I also find them extremely lucky. Many make it but so many don’t, for so many reasons.

Loving my husband has never been hard. I don’t think love is the hard part. Love,  through life, that’s the hard part. 

Love through growth, change, adversity…that’s hard. Especially for 50 years of your life?! Can you imagine how much things change in 50 years? Through so much growth, so much change, children, marriages, divorces and sadly, death. Adversity at its best. But, somehow, Maria and Joe did it. They’re cute. They go dancing every Saturday. They help so many people, myself included. They gave me my wonderful husband. They love my girls. Plus, neither of them look like they would be old enough to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary. A half century of marriage. Truly remarkable. 

 My wish for them is that they’re able to reflect on their life and enjoy their accomplishments. My prayer for them (and all of us) is that each day going forward, is not be taken for granted and be truly recognized as a gift from God. 

My Weekend…Planned

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Not that I haven’t been writing over the lasts few months, I’ve written a ton. With all that’s happening in our country and around the world, writing is all I could do. Not for others but for myself. It’s the best way for me to release and makes sense of what I experience. 

However, this morning before my husband left for work he kissed me and asked “are you ready for a great weekend?” I am, and I want to share it. 


Today started out kind of relaxing. Breakfast with the girls, a little cleaning but I’m taking it easy. My idea of easy may be a little twisted but I’ll take it. 

This morning I’ll be checking off my to do list in preparation for our event tonight. My Makers and Music event is in partnership with Style Week Pittsburgh and Social Status Boutique. We’re gathering to celebrate some of our city’s most creative people. It started with a photoshoot and a great group of people. The incredible photographer Juan Carlos Silva, made everyone feel great and look great. Now we get to see the images, celebrate the group and learn more about what they do. 

After the happy hour event and clean up, 😩 I’m going to head over to Tako for a margarita and a song. David is spinning there until 1am. I might stay for a late night taco too. 


No Saturday morning commitments = big (Belgium) waffles, bacon and maybe a mimosa. AKA…My favorite breakfast. David makes the most amazing waffles with help from Stella and Cece, while I prepare the mixed berries and Sofia sets a “fancy” table as she calls it. I love these mornings with my family. 

Saturday afternoon we are back to our weekly historic landmark search. Stella’s idea has become one of our favorite activities this summer. We’ve had so much fun and the girls (and their parents) have learned a lot about Pittsburgh. We know…#NerdAlert

Saturday evening another great event! My band Rhyhm ‘n’ Steel will be performing at Musicalidades, David will also DJ the event. A fundraising event hosted by Our Rhythm a project by my new friends Gabriel, Lucas and Cat. Our Rhythm will be a documentary film telling the stories of  7 musicians around the world. I am happy to support such a wonderful project but even happier to support such great people. 


We are definitely sleeping in on Sunday. Mass at noon will be a great way to reflect on the past week and prepare for the week ahead. Although my faith is not based on just going to church. I like the gathering, singing in unison, listening to our priest and thinking about ways I can do and be better. 

All in All

We’re going to have a typical Pugliano Family weekend action packed and fun. I have always been stuck between being  afraid of all that’s bad in the world and how it impacts my family and creating an amazing life for my girls, free of the worry and the sadness I feel. It’s so difficult but I look at them and I know I’m doing well. It’s more important for them to feel loved than anything else. And they do. Not to sound corny but love is the key. First self love. Knowing yourself, loving yourself, taking care of yourself and improving yourself. Then loving others. Being empathetic, supportive and kind, to all. That will go such a long way. Try and see. 

My Weekend…Planned

This week, although a day shorter, brought a workload twice as long. This weeks to do list has already been added onto next week list!


This morning we’re cleaning and preparing for summer. In the afternoon the girls and I will head to my office for a few hours. 

Friday the girls will go to their grandparents house for the night. David and I both have gigs. First up? “WhatsUp” by artists Sarah Zeffiro. A collab with another artist Tom Mosser opening at Irma Freeman Center for Imagination in conjunction with Unblurred on Penn. What’s great about this gig? Not only do I get to perform for a great friend but with great friends. My bandmate Brett Staggs and I will be mixing it up and doing something a little different. Joining us during night, my husband David (yes on Steelpan) and another one of my incredibly talented friends, Ayesha Scott will sing. Join us for a jam session at 10, bring your instrument!


In the morning we’re meeting with another talented friend, artist John Eastman. David, John and I are collaborating on a project that am I completely moved and excited about. 

Saturday evening we’re heading to “Full Bloom” the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre’s annual fundraiser. We’ve supported KST and this event every year since my sister took the position of Executive Director somewhere around 8 years ago.  This is always a fun event. 


Sunday morning we’re heading to the Carnegie Library Extravaganza with our girls. Not only is this a fun event but Stella will be recognized during a ceremony for the “I Do What I Can” Awards presented by WQED, which she received earlier this year for being smart, kind and helpful. I’m so proud of her. In addition to recording a radio interview with SLB Se also gets to take part in this ceremony.?Stella is a wonderful girl; talented, intelligent, inquisitive, kind and so much more. She’s impressive. We’re proud of her and happy to see her recognized at such a young age. 

Sunday evening we’ll gather once again with family to celebrate a high school graduation. One of many family gathering this summer!

All in All

I’ve been thinking a lot about the people that get a lot of praise in our society and what they’re praised and recognized for. I don’t want my children to get caught up in thinking that celebrity, fame, money and materials things lead to happiness or relate to importance or self worth. I’ve never been impressed by those things I’m not sure why others are. 

Who impresses me? Stella impresses me.  Beyoncé impressed me (probably for really different reasons than the screaming fans in the from row.) Entrepreneurs that are great parents and family centered, impress me. Musicians and artists that show exceptional talent, live from their art and share their art with the next generation, impress me. People who work hard, have confidence, achieve but are still kind and dedicate time to others. That really impresses me.

I’m not impressed by people that have accomplished a lot but failed to be there for their children. Or people who are seen as great outside of the home but struggle with relationships within their family. I’m not impressed by those who give a lot to strangers over their family. Or people that aren’t loyal to the people who have been there for them. I am not impressed by ignorance and selfishishness and false praise. 

I am impressed by people who understand recognition means nothing if you’re miserable behind closed doors. And those that realize that pedestals and praise are insignificant if you don’t have real relationships. I’m impressed by mothers and fathers that work extremely hard and raise great kids. By families that support one another. By couples that accomplish separately but achieve together. By families fighting illnesses with conviction. Strong relationships, unbreakable bonds, family first, exceptional achievements, giving hearts…That impresses me. I hope these things continue to impress my children. 

My Memorial Weekend…Planned


Today started out with my daughters preschool splash party. It was so wonderful to see the children having so much fun in the sun. I was a bit concerned when Cece did not want to get into the pool however, once she saw the fun being had by the other children, all fear and hesitations went away. Then she didn’t want to get out!

After that I’ll go to the office to finish some work before heading back to school. After school my girls will come back to the office to finish some work and lessons before heading home.



Before we do anything else on Saturday we’re making “big waffles” other wise know as Belgium waffles! This is my husbands specialty and the girls absolutely love them. We haven’t had a Saturday  morning at home in a really long time so we are taking full advantage of this opportunity. Big waffles, strawberries, whipped cream, with a side of bacon. Accompanied by a fabulous latte prepared by my husband David. Later, I’ll probably switch to a mimosa. Sounds like the perfect morning to me. Later we’ll do some yard work and cleaning. 

Saturday evening however  is strictly reserved for my David. Because he shares his birthday with our beautiful daughter, it’s never really about him. Which because he’s amazing, he’s totally ok with. This gives me an even greater reason to plan a special evening just to celebrate him.



In the morning we’ll head to mass. After church and lunch I have some work complete and I want to  rehearse so we’ll to our new space for a bit. Sunday evening we’ll be partying with the Puglianos! David’s parents have had a Pre-Memorial Day party every year for as long as I’ve known them (and decades prior to that) so we’ll spend the evening there catching up with family and eating some really good food. I’m also really glad I have a day without cooking or cleaning up.



We don’t have a plan for Monday yet. All we know is that we’ll all be together. It’s crazy how excited we get for days like this, but we do. Family time is precious time to us. We do a lot together but we also spend a lot of time apart. At work, at school, especially during the week. We really miss one another by the time the weekend comes around. We’re all extra thankful for an extra day to spend together.


All in All

It’s going to be a wonderful family weekend. In addition to spending time together, eating great food and celebrating. David and I always make sure to delve deeper into every holiday so our children understand the origin and what the day is really all about. While I’ve been having conversations with the girls this past week about Memorial Day, Soldiers and war, simply because the are just inquisitive, we will make sure to address the reason we celebrate with our girls on Monday. 

I want to make sure my girls don’t take things for granted and understand the reasons behind where we are and what we have, good and bad. American holidays actually make me grateful that I’m an immigrant. I know it’s sounds strange but I know many Americans that take this country and among other things for granted. Foreigners are so grateful to be here and for everything that we have.  We know that with hard work, anything is possible. We think big because being here is big. I love that I still believe that anything is possible. I’m blessed to believe I’m capable of rest things but still have gratitude for the work and sacrifice of those that have come before me. That confidence and gratitude are behind why I work so hard, driven to do well and dedicate time to help others . Their sacrifice cannot be in vain. No ones sacrifices should be. When you connect yourself to the world in that way you not only have a clearer vision for your place but you recognize what other give and have given. 

I know many people that believe they succeed on their own yet remove themselves from every failure and every bad thing that happens. It’s actually difficult for me to be around those people. If you’re great, then you have great impact on the good and great impact on the bad. It all starts with gratitude. 

Happy Memorial Day. 


My Weekend Planned…

The last time I shared my weekend plans I was naive enough to believe I couldn’t add much more to our already packed lives. Well, I was wrong. Since then, we’ve totally increased our workload, overwhelming so. Caught between looking for a break and understanding we’re on the horizon of great things to come. With that said, weekends like this are a welcomed opportunity to slow down and celebrate the ones I love. 


I’m so lucky to start off my Friday with preschoolers. My youngest daughter performed in her class play this morning. I couldn’t wait to see what sort of show 3 and 4 year olds could pull off. Eventhough I’m sick super duper sick I was excited to cheer on my little Cece. After that I’ll head to my new office (yay) to wrap up work for the week and prepare for my steelpan lessons later today. The early afternoon will be all about party planning for my daughter Sofia’s 13th birthday party on Saturday. Say a prayer that I can get everything done, I hate being sick when there’s so much to do. 😩


I know we’ll be busy running around on Saturday morning. The only thing crazier than planning an event, is planning an event that you’re also performing at. And, crazier than that? Planning an event that you and your husband are both performing at, especially with three kids and a scarily long list of “to do’s”  to check off. Nonetheless, my daughter asked for her father to DJ and her mothers band to perform at her party so that’s exactly what she’ll get. I mean, the girl obviously recognizes talent when she sees it. 

Minor (just kidding) major detail…it’s also my husband David’s birthday (Awwhhh) so I’ll be planning some special surprises for him as well. 😏
Saturday night,  it’s party time! I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter celebrated. Her smile literally lights up the room. She is the kind of girl you want to give the world to, but she would never  ask for it. I can’t wait to celebrate her special birthday with family and friends. 


Sunday morning we’ll get up and head to mass…although as I’m writing this it’s seems very unlikely so we’ll probably go to mass on Sunday evening. After a early afternoon birthday party for a school friend. We’ll continue the birthday celebrations. I have something special planned for my husband. Sunday evening it’s back to our normal routine. A few loads of laundry, pressing informs for the week and packing lunches. We learned a long time ago that even when we have special moments our responsibilities don’t go away. Continuing to commit to our responsibilities and doing what we’re supposed to do it what helps up to be successful and achieve so much. We all have 24 hours in a day. I do a lot in those hours and in turn, get a lot back.  

All in All

I’m really excited to celebrate David and Sofia. May 21st is such a special day for them and for me. Two people that not only changed my life, but defined it were born on this day. 

Sixteen years ago on May 21, I enjoyed a first date with an amazing guy. We laughed so much and talked to each other like we had known one another our whole lives. Although we had an amazing time, David didn’t mention it was his birthday until the end of our date. A unselfish move to not make the day all about him.  
Thirteen years ago on May 21st my first baby girl was born. In that moment something change in the universe. I have understood my purpose ever since. Sofia was a little girl that looked at you with years of knowledge in her eyes and so much joy in her smile. She is thoughtful and patient, loving and kind. She sees the best in everyone, even those who don’t always show their best. We are blessed to know her, honored to raise her and grateful to be in her presence. 

I have loved both David and Sofia from the first moment we met. But the love I have received back from both of them is indescribable. There are no words for our love and our bond. I didn’t know you could connect with someone so deeply until I met my husband. And I never knew you could love someone so much until Sofia was born. I am blessed to have a family to love and care for and I’m grateful to know the power of love. Happy Birthday to my dear husband and amazing daughter!

6 (Stolen) Words of Wisdom for 2016

I am a person with great self confidence, but I’m also very self aware. I want to be my best self and everyday I learn and grow. I consider myself smart enough to know that I am not done learning and strong enough to understand I can be better. Once you’re open to self improvement and growth, you find that there are lessons everywhere. Whether it’s a story in the newspaper or a blog, whether it’s taught by a scholar or you learn from a friend. The lessons are everywhere. You just have to listen and give others your respect and attention. 

So, what words of wisdom am I carrying into 2016?  

1. “Don’t tell them, show them” – Sarah Zeffiro, Artist

Sometimes people just cannot understand what they do not know or have never seen. 

2. “Those who know better, should do better and sometimes, will suffer more for it” – Marilyn Solomon, My Mother

3. “Always try to believe in everything and everyone, even if it seems hard” – Stella Pugliano, 8

4. “We are all more connected than we think” – Cara Bessko, Yoga Instructor

5. “When we give our money to a cause or to help someone, our time, or our talents, we give gold. Like the wisemen gave to Jesus” – Father Tony, Pastor

6. “My God loves me, my God loves you” -David Pugliano 

Treat others well, no matter what, because they are also children of God. But also remember others must treat you well because you are a child a God. 

All of these quotes rang in my ears when I heard them and I’m using these words as I move into this new year. The only advice I would add, for now, is “start with family,” that’s where everything begins and ends. I wouldn’t do anything for a stranger that I would not do for my family. Once they are ok, I know I can move on. 

Happy New Year!

My Weekend and Christmas Week Planned…

Okay the overwhelming feeling of “what am I doing” and “how will I get this all done” has been slowly building. As much as I try to stay on top of every detail, you can’t and inevitably things get missed or you literally fall over. That was my week and last night, as I tried to make yet another to-do list, my brain was like, stop, just stop. I fell asleep with pencil and paper in hand and didn’t wake up until my husband snuck in from his dj gig.

This morning however, I’m back. To-do list for work and home from now through after Christmas, complete. The Pugliano Family will be a busy bunch but we’ll get it all done and have a tons of fun.


The morning was designated to planning. I’ll be working on Barrels to Beethoven today preparing the organization goals for 2016. Finishing up sending off two proposals and starting a new grant application. Straightforward clients are all wrapped up for the year but happily I’m planning out work and already scheduling meetings with potential clients for the New Year. We are also planning a re-launch for 2016. Straightforward has done a lot of things now it’s time to streamline. That will be difficult.

The early evening the girls and I will be heading to East Liberty to celebrate the talented young musicians in the Soundwaves Steel Band. Mat Docktor, the director of the band, is my bandmate in Rhythm ‘n’ Steel, I definitely want to support him and I am always and forever proud of his students, they’re very talented. After that? “Sharin’ in the Groove”  yoga class  at Cube with artist, Sarah Zeffiro and live music from one of my favorite musicians, and bandmate, Brett Staggs. This will not only be a great time but proceeds benefit The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. Supporting great people and giving back.



The day begins with a 10am birthday party 45 minutes away and since we are heading to grandmas house afterward, the entire family needs to get dressed and go. Just say a prayer. Saturday afternoon you may hear sounds of laughter and joy bouncing off the hills of Pittsburgh, that’s because my mother is watching the girls all weekend. A surprise gesture that could not come at a better time. They will spend the next 24+ hours having fun with their cousins, laughing, playing and being very well taken care of. I could not be more grateful. Especially since babysitting was apparently not a blessing we were supposed to receive this year.

Once the girls are gone. We’ll spend a few hours Christmas Shopping before heading home. David has another gig Saturday night so he’ll leave around 5PM. I’ll spend a few hours doing laundry and cleaning while the girls are away before meeting up with a friend. We’ll be heading to the new Ace Hotel for the Teenie Harris exhibit. I’m excited for what will surely being an exceptional exhibit in a beautiful space. Hopefully, because the girls are with my parents, David and I will be able to meet up at some point in the evening after his gig.


My husband makes the best Belgium Waffles, hopefully the fresh strawberries, whipped cream, new pack of bacon and Prosecco in the fridge will inspire him to make them. That will make for an amazing Sunday morning meal with just the two of us, that we’ll get to enjoy without getting up. We will even be able to have a conversation…without interruption. Next on the to do list? We’re wrapping presents! Every present must be wrapped before the girls come home. No exceptions. After that we’ll head to church without the girls prepared to answer to the countless people who will ask us where our children are. Some may not recognize us at all without them.

I am really looking forward to Sunday evening. We’ll gather the girls from my parents home, deal with the stress of getting them primp and proper in a foreign location before heading to the home of  a new friend. She has invited us to her meet at her home before attending her church’s Christmas celebration. I feel like it is such a blessing to meet women strong in their faith, and she’s one. I am looking forward to an uplifting evening with a wonderful group of people.



I’ll try to get some work done for my two upcoming events. Stella and Cecelia will be home and I won’t have Sofia (aka the worlds best big sister) home to babysit. The thought that Christmas is only a few days away will surely have them excited.



Tuesday will be another exciting but busy day for us. We’re hosting an event, “Gather and Give” a sweater and drive and holiday gathering. I’ve invited family, friends, and all of the people we’ve collaborated with this year to gather together and help some families in need. It will be a special night.


Christmas Eve. In the morning, will be delivering the sweaters collected the night before to the Salvation Army Family Center.

The day before Christmas has always been a special day for me. Going to mass, gathering for a family dinner , reading to the girls before we tuck them into bed with so much excitement they can barely sleep… I don’t think there are better moments much better than that. Christmas Eve mass is always special but even more so this year. Stella will be reading at mass and singing in the choir. Sofia will read and play her steelpan. She has been practicing every day. I know my cheeks will hurt from smiling and my eyes will be full of tears. Feel free to be a little envious of my Catholic church that is good to our family and apparently loves the steelpan. I feel very blessed.


All in All

This Christmas we are celebrating family. Our family. We are proud of who we are. And, although we thought our family / village would be a little larger, we know our girls feel loved and that is most important.

Our family is what I’ve always thought families should be and the kind of family I have always wanted. We laugh together, dance in the kitchen, read stories (or make up stories) at bedtime, make music, have difficult conversations, support one another, kiss, hug and say “I love you.” With hard work and continued support from those who love us, I pray that we will continue to be this way as our girls grow into adults. I want them to always feel an overwhelming sense of love and support.

The message I’ve been teaching my girls this season and really all year long, is one of kindness, empathy and inclusion. Especially empathy.  We discussed that a lot this year. I know the concept is not something many parents discuss with their small children, but we’ve encountered so many inconsiderate people this year that I realized this was a lesson I wanted my children to learn early. Empathy; the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. At first, my girls did not understand what this meant, but after sharing some stories and examples as well as discussing what the behaviors may look like, they did. Kindness, like love, it’s an action. It has to be shown or given to be able to be received. Inclusion, a tough lesson that had to be taught during times of exclusion.

As I was teaching these lessons to my girls I realized something. Although they may not have clearly understood the words, meaning or terminology, they innately understand the behaviors. My girls are very kind, very empathetic towards others and inclusive, they don’t like for other children or anyone to feel left out. What a blessing. What a gift.

Christmas Day I will be happy and grateful. Counting my blessings and feeling that overwhelming sense of joy that I feel every year.


A Little Thanks…

As soon as November rolls around you start seeing stories of thanks. And rightly so. The Thanksgiving holiday gets us all thinking about family, friends and the blessings we have. Although my husband and I give thanks daily for our family more specifically, our girls, we know there’s an abundance of things we are grateful for in our lives. The small moments of joy and other little things that together create this wonderful life that we’re living. Being grateful is a blessing, it allows you to be happy, content, do for others, and spread joy, all while continuing to work towards improving yourself and fulfilling your dreams.

Sunday morning as the girls, one by one filtered into our bed and we sat there as a family, just chatting and laughing, I thought to myself “it’s special moments like this that make life great.” And what’s even greater? Those moments, for my family, are not an exception, they occur all of the time, and for that, I could not be more grateful. This year, during the month of November, we’re sharing those “little things” day by day, that make our lives great. So, what are we grateful for today?

November 25th

Sofia: CCD because even though we don’t go to a catholic school anymore we can still get our religious education.

Stella: Thanksgiving break. Because daddy’s off for four days! 
Cecelia: My teachers. Because they’re smart and they play with us.
David: A house full of hugs. Because there is nothing better than coming home to so much love and affection from my beautiful girls. Especially after a difficult day. 
ProperLeigh: My work ethic. Because working smart and working hard has brought me the greatest moments of joy, happiness and success. I wouldn’t be a mother of three, wife, businesswoman and musician, all that I have always wanted, if I was afraid of the work it would take. 

November 24th

We’ve been away for a while. We’ve had fun over the last few days but we’ve had some really busy days. The best part about this exercise of gratitude was sitting together and talking about our blessings as a family. Since we couldn’t do that I didn’t post a list. It’s Thanksgiving week! I can’t believe it. We are facing some challenges but as always counting our blessings and feeling a lot of joy. Here’s what we’re grateful for today.

Sofia: For the times when we go out to eat as a family. I enjoy eating together at home but we go out we always have a lot of fun together.
Stella: The weekend. Because I get to spend time with my family.
Cecelia: For Dora. Because she is smart and cute and I’ve always wanted a puppy.
David: For my sense of humor. Because I enjoy making people laugh especially when I can tell they’ve been having a rough day.
ProperLeigh: The support I receive from my friends. I have always had trouble asking for help. I have friends now that just do without me asking, it makes it so much easier.

November 16th

Sofia: My mom created Barrels to Beethoven. Because there are many people in the world that don’t know about the Steelpan and I’m so glad we can teach it to people.

Stella: My two awesome sisters. Because they’re both very nice and very silly.

Cecelia: My pony dolls. Because I like to play with them and Stella likes them too.

David: For my health and physical well being. Because I enjoy physical work and can contribute to all of the amazing things that we do.

ProperLeigh: All the beautiful pieces of art work my girls have brought home over the years. Because it shows me their creativity and the things they care about.

November 15th

Sofia: To my parents for giving me such an interesting and unique life. We get to do so many different things.

Stella: That we go to brunch sometimes after church. We always have fun at the table. I love the restaurant we went to today, Paris 66, I hope we an go back.

Cecelia: That daddy piled up the leaves and we got to jump and play in them. It was so much fun!

David: That we love to do things together as a family, even chores and tasks. It’s make things so much easier and it’s also more fun.

ProperLeigh: Time to rest. I don’t take time to rest and recharge, almost never. This weekend, with the exception of a few hours of work and chores. I took time to rest and really have fun with my family! What I learned? I could probably use a few more days of rest!

November 14th

Sofia: My sewing machine. I can’t wait to get better and better! Soon I’ll start tailoring adult clothes to fit me!

Stella: For my big sister. She hangs out with me and I like having fun with her.

Cecelia: Family day. I like being with my whole family and when mommy say in the back with us it was fun.

David and ProperLeigh: We created opportunities to work together. We don’t spend much time together so we’re grateful to not only support each other creatively, but work on special projects as a team.


November 12/13 (I took a sick day)

Sofia: My mom helped me start a company. I’ve always wanted to have a clothing business. It’s going to be a great experience and hopefully very successful.

Stella: For art my teacher. Because she’s helping us create art to showcase.

Cecelia: My daddy. Because he’s smart and her rubs my back at bedtime when mommy doesn’t rub my back.

David: That I am still a DJ. I love music and djing is my form of creativity. I’m thankful I get the opportunity to entertain and connect with people through music.

ProperLeigh: That the sickness that has consumed our household the last two weeks ended with me. I think I had it worst (partly because I refused to slow down) but at least I was able to care for my family last week.


November 11th

Sofia: I get to do so many cool things with my parents. Like go to cool events and shows. Because it’s fun and I feel really happy.

Stella: Our house. Because I have a place my bed and all of my things and my family there. I love all of that.

Cecelia: Mommy. Because she’s smart.

David: For being a father to three girls. Because they’re caring, considerate and their love makes me feel like a rockstar!

ProperLeigh: For the the pride and self esteem that me, my girls and husband possess. We like who we are. I am so grateful to raise girls that love who they are. I hope that never goes away! Having good self- esteem greatly effects how you act and interact with others.

November 10th

Sofia: Being a big sister. Because I love helping my little sisters teaching them right from wrong and showing them that I’ll always be there for them.

Stella: My school. Because I get to see my friends and learn new things like, multiplication.

Cecelia: My books. Because I love to read (she can’t read yet) and they’re so fun (again, she can’t read yet)

David: The night time wind down with my wife. Because the girls are in bed, the house is quiet and it’s time to regroup.

ProperLeigh: Children that are very caring. I hit my elbow, yelled “ouch” and they all ran into the room to see if I was okay. It’s a great feeling. I know that they will help others in need.

November 9th (Cecelia edition for her birthday)

Sofia: I’m grateful for Cece because there’s never a dull moment.

Stella: Cecelia’s love. Whether I’m happy or sad she always gives me hugs.

Cecelia: The microphone I got from my mommy and daddy for my birthday! Because I love to sing.

David: To have Cece by my side when I’m doing a task. She always wants to help and willing to learn something new.

ProperLeigh: The strength Cece has given me. Because of her, I chose to focus on my dreams.


November 8th

Sofia: I got to see one of my best friends perform this weekend. Because she’s very talented and I want to support her.

Stella: My stuffed animals. Because when I’m scared at night they help me to be brave.

Cecelia: Mommy’s stories that she’s tells me at night. Because they’re good and I love them.

David: I’m grateful for the weekends. That’s when I get to spend time with my family. Even if we’re busy, at least we can be together.

ProperLeigh: To have kids with a great sense of humor. They make us laugh with great humor and wit.


November 7th

Sofia: I’m grateful I got to help my mom with Barrels to Beethoven today. Because I like to help her with her work.

Stella: My mom gives me second chances. Because everybody makes mistakes.

Cecelia: I got to go to my first classmate birthday party today. Because birthday parties are fun!

David: For time with my best friend. Because she also happens to be my wife

ProperLeigh: All of our friends that help us with our girls. Especially those that have helped us during performances or workshops. Taking them for ice cream or to play. Or sitting and chatting with them. It means so much to us. Because being a parent is so difficult, it’s nice to have some help


November 6th

Sofia: My Mom. Today she took care of me when I was sick. I like spending time with her even if I don’t feel well.

Stella: Nonni’s new puppy, Dora. Because I always wanted a dog. I get to help take care of her and she is soooo cute!

Cecelia: My Nonni. Because she takes care of me and I like to be with her.

David: Our children are being raised with two cultures that are rich in tradition, they’re growing up knowing they’re a part of something. Knowing your roots and culture of where you come from helps to build a sense of pride.

ProperLeigh: My strength. I know my girls are watching me. They recognize that I work hard and I don’t give up when facing adversity. They are the same.


November 5th

Sofia: My 6th grade teacher, Mrs.Rawlings, because she taught the students and I many life lessons and she helped me get through math. I got all A’s last year because of her.

Stella: My books. I love reading especially mystery books. I like to solve them.

Cecelia: My new car seat. Because it makes me feel like a big girl.

David: My faith. Because it keeps me grounded and I know that everything and everyone has its purpose.

ProperLeigh: My organization skills. I would not be able to do all that I do and still ensure my girls get everything they need without thIs blessing. Tonight Cece told me that I was really smart because I know everything that everybody has to do. She was really impressed by that.

November 4th

Sofia: That my mom taught me to play the Steelpan, and its in our family.

Stella: My friends . Because I can have a lot of friends. Today my best friend made me laugh so much! She’s really funny.

Cecelia: Painting. Because I like art and I like to create things. I painted a rainbow today.

David: I have an open mind. Because  that allows me to appreciate the differences in people.

ProperLeigh: Moments like tonight. My mother in law made us dinner! I’m so grateful! A delicious meal. No cooking or cleaning and the girls had a marvelous time with their grandparents and the new puppy Dora!


November 3rd

Sofia: My school. There are many girls in the world that can’t go to school

Stella: My school. I like my teachers and my friends and I like to learn new things.

Cecelia: My toys because I like to play with them.

David: A wife that loves and supports me despite my faults.

ProperLeigh: The laughter in my home. I love to laugh. Everybody is funny. My husband is the funniest man I’ve ever known and has been making me laugh from the moment we met. My kids have great comedic timing and a great sense or humor

November 2nd

Sofia: My wardrobe. I have nice clothes and I bought them with my mom. I like spending time with my mom.

Stella: I get to hangout with my family. Because we love spending time together and we have fun.

Cecelia: My School. Because I like my teachers and playing with my friends.

David: To be surrounded by creativity. It’s inspiring.

ProperLeigh: My girls like the Steelpan and music in general. While we were practicing we literally broke into a jam session. My girls are cool. They will be great musicians someday.

November 1st

Sofia: Our home. It’s nice and there are so many children in the world without a home.

Stella: That I’m me. I have a good life. I’m nice. And I’m pretty.

Cecelia: I get to play with Stella. Because I like to be with her.

David: A family that is close. We enjoy spending time together and love to make one another smile

ProperLeigh: A Sunday morning that begins with my family talking and laughing in my bed. Because it’s moments like this that warm my heart.